Page 7 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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MARCH 2013
n Jan. 25 Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton,
joined by former Secretary of
State James A. Baker, Deputy
Secretary William Burns and Ambassa-
dor Elizabeth Bagley (chief fundraiser),
hosted a reception in the Benjamin
Franklin Room of the Department of
State. Its purpose was to mark the ofcial
launch and start of the construction
phase of the United States Diplomacy
Center, which will be located at the 21st
Street entrance of the department.
It was a signifcant day for American
diplomacy and the diplomatic service,
one worthy of celebration. Te USDC,
which will also house a Museum of
American Diplomacy, has great potential
to build public understanding of, and
support for, diplomacy. Nothing like it
has existed before, and we all need to
support it strongly. Toward that end,
AFSA is undertaking a campaign to
build awareness and support among our
In his remarks at the event, Secretary
Baker made a compelling case for the
Center’s importance. Let me share some
of his words here:
“Since the days of our founding, we
have been very blessed here in
this country by the practice of
adroit diplomacy. It was suc-
cessful diplomacy, after all, that
allowed us to strike the Treaty
of Paris, the picture of which is
over there on the other side of
this hall. It was diplomacy that
made possible the Louisiana
Purchase. It was diplomacy that formu-
lated and implemented the Marshall
Plan. It was diplomacy that made sure—
practiced under all presidents from Tru-
man to George H.W. Bush—that the Cold
War ended with a whimper and not a
bang. Troughout our history, our nation
has been strengthened and protected
through strong, diplomatic alliances and
“Diplomats such as Ben Franklin,
John Jay and Dean Acheson have all
played roles that are every bit as impor-
tant to our nation’s security and well-
being as the roles played by generals
such as Winfeld Scott, John Pershing
and Norman Schwarzkopf. So I think it
is very ftting that this Diplomacy Center
is being built, because it will tell…the
amazing stories of the brave men and
women who have served on the front
lines of American diplomacy. Although
too often overlooked, their tales of hero-
ism really are inspiring.
“But this center is going to do
something else as well, something
equally important. It’s going to explain
why diplomacy matters to every single
citizen. Diplomats negotiate everything
from peace treaties to international
trade pacts to agreements that
keep our air clean. As a former
American ambassador once
said, ‘Foreign policy can raise
or lower the cost of your home
mortgage, it can give you a job,
or it can take that job away.
Foreign policy can afect the air you
breathe. Foreign policy can determine
the future of American security, and
it can determine the fate of American
“Te lessons that this center will
teach are particularly important for all
Americans to know and to understand.
America’s might cannot be properly
exercised without the support of citizens
who appreciate our nation’s role in the
world and its relationship with other
countries, because that’s simply how our
democracy works.”
AFSA has long endeavored to explain
to the American people, whom we have
the privilege to represent overseas, what
diplomacy is, and why they should care
about and support a premier, profes-
sional diplomatic service. Te U.S. Diplo-
macy Center will serve as an important
vehicle and force multiplier to this efort.
It deserves and needs our concrete sup-
Now is the time for every AFSA
member who believes in the value of
diplomacy to help us demonstrate our
commitment by visiting
to make your contribution. Please
watch for regular updates on our cam-
paign to make the U.S. Diplomacy Center
a reality.
Your support will help advance the
USDC and, more importantly, ensure
that the Foreign Service is at the table to
contribute to its development.
The U.S. Diplomacy Center and Museum:
Celebrating Our Profession
Susan R. Johnson is the president of the American Foreign Service Association.